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The Lion King (NES)

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Title Screen

The Lion King

Developer: Dark Technologies
Publisher: Virgin Interactive
Platform: NES
Released in EU: May 25, 1995


DevMessageIcon.png This game has a hidden developer message.
CopyrightIcon.png This game has hidden developer credits.
GraphicsIcon.png This game has unused graphics.
MusicIcon.png This game has unused music.
LevelSelectIcon.png This game has a hidden level select.


A very late NES port of the Lion King video game that only saw a release in Europe. It is in fact the very last licensed game released on the system, as well as the very last official NES game. Actually a quick and dirty (and much worse) port from the Game Boy version, over half the movie's story is notoriously missing here, to the point that you never actually play as the Lion King. It's sad when a bootleg port is better than the actual licensed version.

Developer Messages

First of all it's an unknown name at 0x1755:

Ted Cameron

At 0x37C2 is a snippet from Luke 18:16. It can also be found in the Game Boy version.

Suffer little children to come unto me

There is a text resource at 0x3905 after the levels names list. This message should be used at the Game Over screen when you choose "NO" at the "CONTINUE" screen. It has the same format as level names but not included in the corresponding pointers table. According to display position it has to be displayed at the bottom portion of the screen ([$07,$1C]) with the 8x8 font. But in the release version level names are displayed using 16x16 large font, and this particular message were converted to use different displaying method rather than text resource (CHR data with dedicated packed tile-map). So this text resource is completely unused.

LONG LIVE THE KING

At 0x3FAB0 is John 14:6:

I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life - No-one comes unto the Father but by me.

Unused Graphics

Lion King, The-debug.png

There are leftover graphics data for a removed debug stage. It's possible it was used to display collision and such during development. It should be mentioned that this graphics data is in NES CHR format, although the rest of the game's CHR data is stored in the ROM using the Game Boy graphics format (more evidence of the port being rushed by the developers), so every time the game needs to upload graphics into RAM, it converts the data from Game Boy to NES format on the fly. There are no graphics data upload routines for the NES graphics format.

Interestingly, same graphics are also found in the Game Boy version of this game in native Game Boy graphics format.

There are few differences between two sets:

  • The NES version has additional tile set with the same elements but in monochrome color scheme.
  • Also colors 1 and 2 of tile sets are swapped here.
  • A couple of elements are moved across the end of the tile sets in the NES version, still being kept the same for both consoles.

Level Skip

Pause the game any time and press B, A, Right, Down to skip to the next stage.

Invincibility Cheat

To enable invincibility, first set the Skill level in the options menu to Cub. Start a new game, complete The Pridelands, then collect one bonus bug in The Mane Event and complete the stage with exactly 2 lives left. Pause the Timon and Pumbaa's Bug Patrol game and enter B, A, Right, Down. If done correctly, the game will automatically unpause. Exit the game through any means possible, then lose all your lives in the Elephant Graveyard stage. Select "No" on the Continue screen. Starting a new game from here will make you invulnerable.

"Boy Love" Easter Egg

Lion King, The (NES)-easter.png

First, enable the invincibility cheat, but don't start a new game. On the Options menu, select any option except "Exit", hold either Up or Left, or both, and press A. The Skill level setting will change to "Boy Love". It should be noted that this string is cyphered (character ASCII code subtract 1), as opposed to other entries in the string list.

Unused Music

The song "To Die For" is present as track 7 in the game's NSF, but is never played at any point. In the Game Boy version of the game, this music is used in The Stampede stage; the NES version uses "This Land" for this level instead. The track appears to be somewhat unfinished in comparison to the Game Boy version (the bass channel plays only a single note and is otherwise empty); given the port's unfinished and rushed nature, it's likely the developers simply didn't have time to fix this and fell back on "This Land".

Game Boy Cheat Leftovers

The level select cheat from the Game Boy game (A, B, B, A, B, B) remains in the game, albeit nonfunctional. Entering the code while the game is paused unpauses the game and does nothing else.